Fashion is shifting somewhere we’ve never been before. Every day we’re getting closer to that inevitable moment when everything you could possibly throw on your body becomes cool. Slippers to the grocery store? Of course! Metallic tin-foil space pants? Chic! Technicolored fur-lined Birkenstocks with socks? Wish list! Your boyfriend’s oversized concrete-stained construction clothes? So avant-garde! 50s skirts? Yes! 60s skirts? YES! 80s skirts? GOD YES! With the endless need to innovate, and to come up with the next big thing that would shock and amaze us, the fashion industry has been reaching deeper and deeper into the proverbial bag of fashion tricks and pulling out the stuff we thought would never see the light of day. Lately, the formula has been to go after the silhouettes, fabrics and color combinations that humanity as a whole has deemed universally unflattering. Remember pattern clashing just a couple of years ago? How about those severely tapered grandma pants? Unless you were shaped like a prepubescent boy, they’d likely make you look like a spinning top. But of course, we all wore them anyway. You see, the ugliness almost became the point. In a sense, ugliness is the final frontier of fashion.
We’re knee-deep in the age of the Man Repeller who defined the one and only original trend in the fashion world over the last decade: The idea of consciously dressing in a way that is fashionable, but extremely unattractive to the opposite sex. Though it may not look like much at first glance, the whole concept is hugely groundbreaking. We’re talking about a time when our need for cool trumps our need to attract a potential mate. Not only could this spell the end of trends as we know them, perhaps it could also offer a viable solution to our growing population problem. Now as never before, is it cool be totally and tragically uncool. The weirder the better.
There’s a hint of desperation in the air, and the realization that perhaps we’ve truly thought of everything there is to be thought on the subject of human clothing is beginning to slowly creep over us. The elephant in the proverbial showroom of life is wearing a fabulously oversized Chanel purse with the words “We’re all out of ideas” emblazoned across that legendary double C logo.
In the past, you would have been ridiculed for being different. Think of the most defining feature of the freaks and geeks of your childhood. They wore outdated clothing. They were always just a few steps behind the fashion of the day, and they likely wore their dad’s old glasses, and their grandad’s sweater-vest. Today, there’s really no such thing as “outdated fashion.” Literally, everything is cool. Every decade, every silhouette, every awkward piece of craziness you could dig out of your grandma’s closet will only make you look like more of an individual. Let’s call it Awkward Chic, by now arguably a street style staple. And why not? Every conceivable trend has come and gone. From where we’re sitting, ugly is starting to look mighty refreshing. And to be fair, it takes real courage to look intentionally awkward, and it takes a certain skill to do it well. For the style-hungry the payoff is worth the colossal effort it takes to make weird look effortless: You get to be a true original, and maybe, just maybe, give birth to a new trend all your own.